Tonight, two teams on different paths will collide in a potential game of the year matchup. The Thunder have some work to do if they want to compete, but with an MVP season from Westbrook, they are managing to fight their way into the postseason. The Spurs, on the other hand, aren’t thinking playoffs. They’re thinking championships. With Kawhi and Pop leading the way, they’ve once again been amongst the best in the league. Now, the teams meet once again. Here’s five reasons to get the hype about tonight's matchup:
5. Bad Blood
Remember all those times where the seemingly impeccable Spurs got bested by the Thunder? In the past, there’s always been something strange between the Spurs and OKC. Since the 2011 season, the Spurs have only won one out of three series against the Thunder. Oklahoma City just seems to have the right formula for beating Spurs’ teams, and tonight, it will be interesting to see if that trend continues.
4. San Antonio Chasing The First Seed
With Kevin Durant likely out the remainder of the regular season, it leaves them vulnerable and weak as the playoff push begins. While calling the Warriors “weak” is a bit of an overstatement, they are certainly not the same team with KD riding the pine. The Spurs now have a solid chance at stealing the number one seed in the West, as they only sit one and a half game back. A loss vs the Thunder tonight would probably mean the Spurs lose out on their chance to get home court advantage throughout the playoffs.
3. History On The Line
As of right now, Russell Westbrook is averaging 32 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 10.0 assists. If he gets under ten dimes tonight, he loses his triple double average. While his season numbers may not be what’s most important to him, it certainly means a lot when talking in terms of who is an MVP front-runner. No doubt OKC fans aren’t the only ones who want to see Russ make history.
2. First-Round Playoff Preview?
Today, OKC stands at the seventh seed, while the Spurs sit at number two. If things stay how they are, it means that these two teams would meet up in the first round. That's right, this game could be a glimpse of what’s to come in a month and a half.
1. The Race For MVP
Of course, the hottest storyline of the night will be the matchup between two MVP favorites. Kawhi Leonard and Russell Westbrook have both been on a fantastic run this season. While one game may not change a lot, it will certainly matter how these guys perform tonight if they want to stay up front in the MVP race.